Thursday, January 31, 2019

Book Publishing Secrets with Literary Author Dwaine Rieves



Book Title: SHIRTLESS MEN DRINK FREE
Genre: Literary fiction
Publisher: Leapfolio, a joint venture of Tupelo Press

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
I began writing Shirtless Men Drink Free about twelve years ago.  The novel began as an exercise (challenge is probably a more realistic word!) in writing a long narrative that had poetry as its backbone.  Had I know it would have taken twelve years, I’m not sure I would have signed on with the cast of characters.  But the adventure is done, and I believe the novel accomplishes what the colorful, poetic folks in 2004 Atlanta would have wanted—a story of their lives and after-lives on the record.  I tell people the book is about “souls and the bodies that won’t let them go,” a summary that largely reflects the lyrical bent of the novel.  More precisely, the novel explores how the death of our parents impact our seemingly fully-developed adult lives.
Is this your first book?
This is my first novel.  I have a collection, When the Eye Forms, that won the 2005 Tupelo Press Prize in Poetry.  I was delighted when Leapfolio, a joint venture of Tupelo Press, volunteered to help make Shirtless Men Drink Free a tangible book—both in print and ebook format.  The folks at Tupelo Press have a solid track record in gorgeous book production, so I jumped at the chance to have their expertise in crafting the novel’s presentation to the world. 
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Leapfolio is a form of a hybrid press—a creature I had never heard of until Jeffrey Levine at Tupelo Press introduced me to the model. In this paradigm, the press and the author invest time, sweat and finances into the book’s production.  I particularly like the model because Leapfolio allowed me to make the final sign-off on all aspects of the book’s production.  I have a friend who recently had a novel published by a large, traditional publisher, and I was surprised to hear of how little control the author had over the book’s presentation.  Perhaps I’m a control freak!  But after working twelve years on a novel, I sure wanted the final presentation to align with story itself.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
What a story to tell!  At the completion of the novel’s final working draft, I queried over 200 agents.  The vast majority never responded.  Probably a dozen responded, and six requested the full manuscript.  The feedback I received from these six agents was consistent—“Dwaine, the writing is great and the story compelling; but it will be hard to sell this work.  The market is so tough now, unless you have a connection, a track record or fit clearly into a market niche, the big houses are just not going to take you on.  This work is just too creative, too edgy. Sorry.”
Indeed, one well-known agent called to apologize for not being able to take on the novel because: “You just can’t write like this initially.  You have to have a track record of more accessible, popular novels.  Then, you might be able to go experimental with a traditional publisher.”
I have heard many versions of “sorry.”  Being a poet, I guess I’m used to rejection.  Too, I knew Shirtless Men Drink Free, would never be an “easy sell.”  It wasn’t supposed to be “easy.”  The novel makes no apology for its soul, which is not an easy commodity for the market.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
I’ve learned that the artist’s journey is a difficult one and one the artist must anticipate, if not welcome.  Perhaps a challenge the artist can’t live without.  I’m very pleased with the difficulty of this process—it has made the work and me better. 
In terms of producing another novel, I really like the hybrid model because it can leave the artist in control, the artwork becoming what it is supposed to be—all the time with an expert advisor looking over your shoulder. 
My experience in the world of book publicity/marketing/traditional big-box book selling is not favorable.  It reminds me of car marketing—heavy on hype and conveyor belt assembly.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Yes, indeed.  I think a hybrid-printing model, where the author works with a well-experienced production team, can be a very satisfying experience for an author, especially an author whose work may not so readily fit into the typical commercial genres.  I have no experience with solely self-publishing or traditional, big-box publishing, so I’m at a loss to make firsthand comparisons.  I have heard much about the traditional publishing route—and what I’ve heard and read is not so favorable, at least in terms of cultivating the soul of the author and her art.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
I think it is important to allow yourself the great freedom of expression, by which I mean freedom in genre and the soul’s laboratory.  For example, that expression could take the form of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, film, photography, music—the list of creative arts is obviously endless.  Sometimes I think the soul craves, above all, expression—realization.   
So my advice is first to discover what inspires you, what drives you—and then step behind that steering wheel of inspiration.  And persevere.  Above all, persevere!  Look for editors, readers, critics, supporters, detractors—anyone who you think can help.  Even if it hurts.  Even if they hurt.  After all, without hurt there would be no need for art itself.

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About the book:
In Shirtless Men Drink Free, Doctor Jane Beekman has seen her dying mother’s soul, a vision above the bed—a soul struggling with a decision, some undone task, something in this world too noble to leave.  The question that lingers—why?—prompts a shift in the doctor’s priorities.  In this election year, Jane must do what her mother, an aspiring social activist, would have done. Soon, Jane is embroiled in the world of Georgia politics, working to make sure her dynamic younger brother-in-law Jackson Beekman is elected the next governor, regardless of what the soul of the candidate’s dead father or that of his living brother—Jane’s husband—might want done. 

Indeed, it is a mother’s persistence and a father’s legacy that will ultimately turn one Beekman brother against the other, launching a struggle with moral consequences that may extend far beyond Georgia. Set amidst 2004’s polarizing election fears—immigrants and job take-overs, terrorists in waiting, homosexuals and outsider agendas—Shirtless Men Drink Free makes vivid the human soul’s struggle in a world bedeviled by desire and the fears that leave us all asking—Why?

Engaging, beautifully written and resplendent with realism, Shirtless Men Drink Free is a standout debut destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.  A meticulously crafted tale that showcases an outstanding new voice in Southern fiction, Shirtless Men Drink Free has garnered high advance praise:

“This is brilliant and rare work, as attentive to an absorbing plot as it is to a poetic, chiseled cadence."—Paul Lisicky, award-winning author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship

“These characters are all too real. Rieves, as Faulkner, McMurtry and Larry Brown, writes people and story that will worm, burrow into you.  Change you even.” Adam Van Winkle, Founder and Editor, Cowboy Jamboree

“Vividly sensuous, this novel is full of textures, sounds and smells.  Rieves tells a terrific story with the sensitivity of a poet.” —Margaret Meyers, author of Swimming in the Congo

Published by Tupelo Press joint venture partner Leapfolio, Shirtless Men Drink Free will be published in trade paper (ISBN: 978-1-946507-04-4, 326 pages, $16.95) and eBook editions.  The novel will be available where fine books are sold, with an arrival on January 22, 2019.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Book Publishing Secrets with Fantasy Author Joni Parker @parkerjoni #fantasy


Joni was born in Chicago, moved to Japan, and returned to live in Phoenix, Arizona. After joining the Navy, she lived in Lakehurst, New Jersey where she met her husband, a career sailor. They moved to Jacksonville, Florida, from there to Pensacola, Florida where Joni attended the university. Upon graduation, she returned to the Navy and was stationed in Naples, Italy. From there, the Navy sent her to live in a number of U.S. cities and even spent a year with the U.S. Army at their Command and General Staff College obtaining a Master of Military Arts and Sciences. Upon her retirement, she traveled the country in an RV with her husband until he passed away. She returned to the workforce living in Dallas until she discovered a passion for writing fantasy novels. She retired for a second time and now lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Website Address: http://www.joni-parker.com
Twitter Address: @ParkerJoni


About the Book:

A NATO training exercise goes terribly wrong when five warships from different countries are mysteriously transported to Eledon, the Realm of the Elves. The warrior Lady Alexin is charged to escort the troops back home to London in the year 2031 with the aid of the Wizard Ecstasy and a magic shrinking potion. Yet, when the authorities question her story, Alex is detained and imprisoned under suspicion of terrorism. Caught in a web of politics, betrayal and bungling bureaucracy, the confusing world of the future will push her magical gifts to their limit, and her own future will hang in the balance, caught between “justice” and the place she calls home.
                                                                                               

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon



Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Joni: Several years ago, I was suddenly inspired to write when I developed a character and a bunch of stories. I didn’t stop for three months. After I finished, I wasn’t sure what to do with the manuscript so I decided to publish it. It needed a lot of editing, but eventually, it became my first three books in The Seaward Isle Saga: The Black Elf of Seaward Isle, Tangled Omens, and Blood Mission. The inspiration continued for the next series called The Chronicles of Eledon with Spell Breaker, The Blue Witch, Gossamer, and Noble Magic.
Is this your first book?
Joni: Curse of the Sea is actually my eighth book. It begins the Admiralty Archives, my third series and will have two more books.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Joni: My editor, Teresa Kennedy, runs a small indie press so she’s also my publisher. She published both the ebook and print versions of my first series, but now, she only publishes the ebook version. I publish the print version and post it to Amazon.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Joni: The pros: I have help with publishing the ebook and my editor sets the manuscript up for the print version including formatting and cover design. She also takes care of forwarding any royalties.
The cons: I do all the marketing to promote my book and get reviews. Also, I can’t independently verify how well sales are going since that information goes directly to the publisher.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Joni: Fortunately, I have a good working relationship with my publisher. She doesn’t change my title arbitrarily or pick covers without my approval. That’s not true with the big houses. Once the author turns over the manuscript, the author gets little input on the title or cover. I didn’t know anything when I first started and I was working hard on my writing skills so I appreciated the help. Indie publishing and all that’s involved was more than I could handle at the time.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Joni: It depends on the author. If the author can devote the time and energy into self-publishing, then that’s the way to go. However, most of us can’t do it all and needs help from somebody.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Joni: After I finished my first book, I found out that writing it was only the beginning. An author has a lot more to do in the way of marketing and publishing. At the time, the self-publishing market was only in its infancy and anyone who went that way, was looked down by the industry. My book was even downgraded by a reviewer because it was self-published and she claimed there were a lot of spelling errors in it when there weren’t. Anyway, there are a lot of resources now available to help authors so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Book Publishing Secrets with Thriller/Suspense Author Rob Kaufman @robkaufmanct #publishing #getpublished


As a child, Rob Kaufman was always fascinated by the stories recited by those around him and the words used to tell them. As he got older, his need to tell his own stories grew, as did his ability to share them in exciting and captivating ways.

However, he wanted to share more than just stories. His primary desire was to create characters with whom people could relate, while at the same time bringing them through a journey from which most would crumble.

His degree in Psychology was the first step toward getting beneath the surface of the people in his
life. What followed was a lifelong search for what makes people tick – what forces them to become evil when deep down in their heart of hearts, they are yearning for love. Rob’s characters walk this search with him, deep into the human psyche, creating psychological thrillers from every day events.

Rob’s second book “One Last Lie" continues to receive great praise and is selling well in both electronic and paperback formats. His current book, “A Broken Reality” is much darker than his first, with characters who hold bits and pieces of strangers he’s known, friends he’s had and personal tragedy he’s lived through.

“This book hits home for me,” says Rob. “There were a few pages that made me laugh out loud as I wrote them... and many that made me cry. And the great thing is, I’m finding that many readers of this book are experiencing the same emotions.”

Through social and other media, Rob hopes to get “A Broken Reality” into the hands of millions, so that they, too, can experience the ups, downs, twists, turns and final tragedy that has helped make this book a Five-Star contender.

Website Address: www.AuthorRobKaufman.com
Twitter Address: @RobKaufmanCT


BOOK BLURB:

On a fateful night in the dead of winter, an unimaginable tragedy changes the lives of two families forever. How will they manage to deal with reality while stopping the sociopath who is pushing them toward the edge of sanity?

When Jesse regains consciousness, he has no recollection of how he and his car wound up in a ditch. However, there's a witness: Charles Hastings, the sociopathic kidnapper who chased Danny through the brush and into the path of Jesse's car.

Hastings takes this chance to set up Jesse so he'll take the fall for both Danny's disappearance and death. And so the mind games begin--an onslaught of psychological manipulation that devastates Jesse, his wife, Danny's parents and the cops' investigation. Inexplicably, the torment continues even after the primary suspect is killed and the rollercoaster of emotions and confusion seems never-ending until the final and devastating truth is revealed.

If you like gripping, suspenseful page-turners that keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end, this is a must read!
Ten-year-old, Danny Madsen, has been missing for four days when Jesse Carlton begins his own search for his godson on a frigid, snowy night. Driving along a deserted rural road, Jesse hits a stretch of black ice at the same time Danny appears from the thicket. Unable to control the car, Jesse slams into the boy and watches helplessly as Danny's body flies back into the dark brush.

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
I’ve been writing stories since I was a child… so becoming an author wasn’t any surprise to anyone – especially me. As far as why I decided to write “A Broken Reality”, it was because the story kept floating around in my head and wouldn’t stop until I sat down and started to type. Of course, it continued to float around within my head, but now it was taking shape.
Is this your first book?
This is my third book. My other two are, “In the Shadow of Stone” and “One Last Lie”.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
I chose Indie because it gives me more control over marketing, copy, and other decisions that a traditional publisher might make for me. Now it’s all up to me. That’s a great thing… and a bit daunting at the same time.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
The pros of publishing Indie is, as I’ve said, the control I have over the process. It’s been exciting and a bit scary at the same time. I learn as I go. Unfortunately that can lead to big (and expensive) mistakes, but I have many groups I belong to which help me get through the tough times. Having these people (i.e. Facebook groups) to lean on is a definite “pro” to self publishing. The biggest con is thinking I’m doing everything correctly and then find out, too late, I made a mistake that either cost me time, money or potential readers. Like any other business, it’s a learning process. I just wish I had more time to write my books rather than market them.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
It’s extremely competitive. You have to use every tool available and listen to both sides of the coin before making any big decisions. There are millions of books on the market today, so how do you make yourself stand out? Besides having a great product and enticing cover and content, you need to have some marketing sense and help. I always take the help where and when I can get it and weigh all opinions before making a final decision.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
I would try traditional publishing first, just to get a taste of the industry and the restrictions that type of publishing puts on you. If you can deal with those restrictions and it gives you more time to write, then go for it. You can always try Indie for your next book to see which method you like better.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
If you have an idea that you think is good and get stuck, push your way through it. There was one point in “A Broken Reality” that I couldn’t get past and I almost gave up. After careful thought, asking friends and 5 tedious months, I came up with the answer and it’s one of my best books yet. So don’t give up if you get stumped. There’s always a way through!

Book Publishing Secrets with Cozy Mystery Author Debra H. Goldstein



Name: Debra H. Goldstein
Book Title: One Taste Too Many   
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: Before I could read or write, I fell in love with stories listening to those my mother read to me and by attending a children’s storytelling hour at our local library. I began telling my own tales and that evolved into writing short stories and neighborhood skits. By the time I attended college, I was sure I was going to get a degree in journalism and become a globe-trotting journalist. Instead, I graduated with a degree in English and History; went to New York giving myself eight months to obtain two goals – find a job in publishing and become a Jeopardy contestant; goals accomplished, I went to law school and became a litigator and then a federal Administrative Law Judge. During this time, I wrote boring legal briefs, law journal articles, and decisions, but I yearned to write something more fun. For ten years, I played on and off with an idea I had for a mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus until a friend challenged me to write it or shut up. She softened her words by graciously offering me a beach condo for a week-end of writing. I came home from that weekend knowing I could do it. One Taste Too Many is the fruition of another idea I had for a series featuring a cook of convenience – someone like me – for whom the kitchen is a fate worse than death.
Is this your first book?
Author: No. My prior books are 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue, a mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus in the 1970’s and Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Player’s Mystery (2016). I also write short stories which have appeared in periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, the Birmingham Arts Journal, Mardi Gras Murder, and The Killer Wore Cranberry. “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,”(AHMM 2017) was an Agatha and Anthony finalist this year.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: One Taste Too Many is the first of the Sarah Blair cozy mystery series being traditionally published by Kensington. Kensington’s books are distributed by Penguin-Random House.  Much as I respect people who handle all the details involved with self-publishing, because of my time commitments and limited artistic talents, traditional publishing is a better alternative for me. I’m thrilled to be writing this series for Kensington.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: My first book, Maze in Blue, was published by a small publisher who requested it after a friend told the owner “There’s a judge with a mystery that I think you should read.” Not knowing anything about publishers, agents, and queries, this was the only place I submitted it and I was thrilled when Maze was accepted. Six months after publication, when I had just won an IPPY Award and had speaking engagements booked for most of the next year, the publisher ceased operations. It graciously returned my rights and encouraged me to reissue it through Amazon’s Create Space to keep it alive. In the meantime, I sold mass market rights to Harlequin.
After being orphaned, agents and editors I spoke with encouraged me to “write something new.” I wrote Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Player’s Mystery. This time, I sent out queries and pitched the book at conferences. At Killer Nashville, a Five Star editor asked to see the book and a week later offered me a contract. The book came out in hardcover, I sold mass market rights to Harlequin, and the publisher announced it was discontinuing its mystery line.
Orphaned twice, I knew to write something new. Drawing on my loathing for the kitchen, I created a character whose fine china is paper plates and whose greatest fear is being asked to cook. When One Taste Too Many was ready, I queried and obtained an agent. She sold One Taste Too Many to Kensington as part of a three book deal for the Sarah Blair cozy mystery series.  
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: Being orphaned twice taught me that the publishing industry is everchanging and evolving and that survival necessitates flexibility and a willingness to move forward after a limited amount of tears. I also learned how wonderful the people in the mystery community are. Their help and support got me through the rough times.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Because of my limited time and distribution mechanisms, traditional publishing was the best fit for me. I would definitely recommend it to other authors.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Don’t stop believing in yourself and your work in progress, but take classes, network, and do everything you can to improve your writing. Finally, pay it forward.

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About the book:
For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired town she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant.

Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!


Books-a-Million:  https://www.booksamillion.com/p/One-Taste-Too-Many/Debra-H-Goldstein/9781496719478